A cold war that has existed between the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Egyptian government came to the fore on Thursday at the CAF General Assembly.
CAF founded on 8 February 1957 in Khartoum, Sudan moved its offices to Cairo few months later after a fire outbreak in the offices of the Sudanese Football Association destroyed foundation documents.
During Thursday’s meeting CAF’s president Ahmad has asked FIFA president, Gianni Infantino to help in finalizing the headquarters agreement.
The hosting agreement between CAF and Egypt government started in 2007 for five years and was automatically extended in 2012 for another five years before expiring in 2017.
“Today CAF is in a precarious situation. Anything can happen here on our premises because we still do not have an agreement on our headquarters. This is why I am addressing you, the Presidents of Federations,” Ahmad told the CAF’s general assembly on Thursday.
“There are many challenges to overcome. Reforms will not be easy. Even our employees at CAF have trouble getting visas to work. Some come under tourist visa!,” the CAF president added.
EFA’s former boss responds
From his side, resigned Egyptian Football Association president and FIFA’s executive committee member Hani Abu Rida has denied Ahmad’s statements, confirming Egypt will always help the CAF and introduce all facilities to ease the federation’s missions.
“I affirm that the CAF is enjoying all privileges more than any federation in the world, including FIFA itself,” Abu Rida told the CAF’s general assembly.
“To give the CAF’s employees a diplomatic prescription should be passed from the parliament,” he added.
“I confirm that the matter is on its way to be solved,”
“Egypt is a country that works within the law and respects Africans, as well as secures complete protection for its workers,” the FIFA’s executive committee member announced.
“Egypt will always and forever host the CAF’s headquarters and has been since its establishment in 1957,” Abu Rida concluded.
The CAF’s general assembly that took place in Cairo early on Thursday comes one day ahead of the final game of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt between Algeria and Senegal.
Egypt proved to be a hero by hosting the 2019 African Cup of Nations (2019 AFCON) tournament after Cameroon, whom was originally granted hosting rights, was stripped of its duties after delays in preparations for the expanded 24-team tournament.
“We can’t ignore Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s cooperation in organising the competition in five months,” Ahmad Ahmad told a press conference last June.
“There were a lot of challenges concerning this tournament, but we tried to overcome them and organise a competition with 24 national teams,” he said.
Infantino congratulates Egypt
FIFA chief Gianni Infantino congratulated Egypt for its incredible organizing of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations during his attendance at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Congress’s headquarters in Cairo on Thursday.
“I congratulate Egypt for this great organizing of the Africa Cup of Nations, and for an incredible tournament,” Infantino said during the CAF congress.
He also emphasized that Egypt amazed the world with its magnificent infrastructure and perfect stadiums.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final game will be played between Algeria and Senegal at Cairo Stadium on Friday.